5 Great Elmore Leonard Adaptations To Honor The Author's Long Career
Jackie Brown (1997)
Like many filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of Leonard’s work, and back in the 1990s he and his then-writing partner Roger Avary truly showed their fanhood by acquiring the film rights to three of the author’s novels: Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky and Killshot. Ultimately, the writer/director ended up only adapting the first book on that list, but lucky for us that movie turned out to be the excellent 1997 crime caper Jackie Brown. Mistaking the lead character in the story to be African-American (she’s actually white in the novel), Tarantino put a Blaxploitation twist on the tale and wound up making one of the best films of his career thus far. Not bad for a misreading of the source material
Out Of Sight (1998)
While I decided to write this list in chronological order, if I were ranking Elmore Leonard adaptations in terms of preference Out of Sight would have to be at the top. Adapted by the same writer who brought Get Shorty to life (Scott Frank) and directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film beautifully captures the darkly comedic tone of Leonard’s work, perfectly combining witticisms and amazing characters with a solid dose of crime, violence and blood. The entire cast brings its A-game, from Don Cheadle as a hyper-violent criminal named Snoopy to Albert Brooks as sniveling, wimpy businessman Richard Ripley, but the unquestionable stars of the show are George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, who share some of the best on-screen chemistry I’ve ever seen in a movie.
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